Coach Jones theme for the pregame speech; “Method of Victory”, was almost dead on. Two hand rebounds was a method of victory. 50/50 ball were a method of victory. Offensive execution was a method of victory. Playing together, you guessed it, was a method of victory. The pregame speech was almost dead on because I don’t remember hearing a two handed falling down soccer throw in by Brian Williams talked about as a method of victory.
Seriously though, we won that game because of the hustle plays we made down the stretch. Melvin’s loose ball? What a great effort play. Brian’s rebound? That was a by-any-means-necessary tough-man play. But there were tons of those throughout the game because we played with the urgency and effort that enabled us to be in position to make those plays. As Coach Forbes implemented his really good scouting report this week, he told the guys that we needed to play defense with the mindset of “making Georgia miss shots, as opposed to hoping they miss.” Just like the second half vs. Vanderbilt, our defense dictated their offense throughout most of the second half.
I don’t know about you, but how long did it seem like the referees were looking at that monitor to see if Brian’s last-second basket was good or not? It seemed like FOREVER! As soon as the shot when in Coach Fancher said “it’s good. No doubt!” but still, you never know. After referee Teddy Valentine put up two fingers and before he could say the “two” in “two points, basket counts,” the hugs of excitement kicked in. Georgia is a really, really good basketball team that was undefeated at home and a team that completely embarrassed us there last year. But we got one back Tuesday night. We got a win that not many other teams in this league are going to get.
The reason we have won two games in a row is mostly due to the fact that we have gotten back to focusing on the little things. The effort plays we can control that Coach Jones talked about in his pregame speech. This is where our mindset was at the beginning of the season but will it remain? Some people will be saying, “Tennessee has turned the corner.” Me, I’m not sold…at all. Why not? Shoot, why would I be? Let’s face it, we have played inconsistently and have not necessarily handled success very well this year….umm, at all.
With a battle vs. UCONN looming on Saturday how will we prepare? What will our mindset be? Will we continue to improve and focus on the methods to victory, or will we enable individual demons to dismantle our current success? I won’t know that until after I see how our guys come to practice the next few days but until then I do know two things. 1. For those of you with heart trouble, please make sure you continue to take your heart medication before you watch our basketball team play. And 2. IT”S GREAT, TO BE, A TENNESSEE VOL! I SAID ITS GREAT, TO BE, A TENNESSEE VOL!!!